Real Talk With Erin Drischler Of The Garment Project

Erin Drischler founded The Garment Project, a non-profit that aims to empower women recovering from eating disorders by providing them with new, size-less clothing, individualized for their healthy bodies and lifestyles. We got to know Erin and the story behind her incredible non-profit—read on for more.

Real Talk With Erin Drischler Of The Garment Project

 

What inspired you to start The Garment Project?

I wanted to start telling a different story. There were so many years where I felt stuck in a loop as the ‘sick girl’. I decided that I want to be a voice for those who feel that same hopelessness. For me, clothing and sizing was a huge part of my eating disorder recovery. Returning home from treatment to a closet full of clothes that didn’t fit my body or soul is a struggle that not many in recovery think of prior to it staring them in the face for the first time. Between my fiancé, Jordan, and myself, our careers, hobbies, and talents seemed to give us the expertise needed to try to make a difference.

We recognized that there needed to be a way for someone to maintain their focus on recovery and not their size, even when finding new clothes. We decided that partnering directly with treatment facilities would give us the information we needed about each candidate Garment works with in a private and healthy way. From there, we needed to give each individual a unique shopping experience. Garment created an online tool that allows us to make a new, personalized shopping page for each candidate containing only items in our inventory that we believe matches both their needs and lifestyle. With the help of hard-working and talented people, we believe Garment will change the recovery process and a lot of lives along the way.

Can you tell us a bit more about the power sizing in clothing can have over women and what they can do to overcome it?

Each time I went through treatment, I would learn new skills or bits of information that would improve some of my behaviors and way of thinking. I would usually leave with a feeling of confidence and that I had worked hard to make important changes in my lifestyle. Yet I would find myself in the same place: back at home, day one of no longer having the security of an inpatient treatment team, trying to get ready for class. I was alone in my room staring at a closet full of clothes that no longer fit my body or recovered lifestyle. It was a terrible feeling.

For a long time I used clothes to fuel my eating disorder. It isn’t uncommon to use clothing sizes as benchmarks. I kept and used my old clothes as a means of body checking, or seeing if weight had been gained or not. After several cycles through the treatment loop, I had been convinced to throw away my scale. My eating disorder didn’t need a scale anymore because I had my ‘sick clothes’. I remember one dress in particular that would reveal my current weight based on how it fit. I didn’t have the financial stability or even the courage to box everything up and start over.

Clothing and fashion are personal and powerful ways to express yourself. It is exciting and the easiest way to express your individuality. I was missing the thing I used to love about getting dressed each day. I wanted to be able to pick my outfit based on my mood or whatever side of my personality was stronger that morning, but I was stuck with a wardrobe that had so many negative associations attached to it that I couldn’t feel confident about anything that I had to choose from.

What’s next for The Garment Project?

We are focused on bettering our service and expanding our reach. This year, we are going to be working hard to spread our message and let people know that we’re a resource for people who have done amazing work for themselves and are learning how to lead a healthier life. Of course, Garment is always learning and growing too. It’s a priority for us to be able to expand our service to men and hopefully we’ll make significant progress on that this year as well.

What makes you #AerieREAL?

It took a few years of practice and slips, but I have a completely new relationship with food, my body, and myself. My eating disordered thoughts once consumed my life, paralyzing me from living a life I was proud of. I am three years into recovery and I still feel pride and excitement when I catch myself in control. I eat when I’m hungry and until I am full, and I always order exactly what I want. When I look at a photo of myself, I no longer examine every dimple or imperfection. I am able to see the happiness on my face because that’s what is most important to me now. I learned how to be more patient with people I care about, and forgive others when they might not have met my expectations. The food finally came second to the relationships, which was one of the most important steps in accepting my recovery.

Living this recovered life had not only led me to accept my body and soul, but truly love and embrace what I have to offer. I’m proud of my recovery and the messy, motivating experiences I went through. It is important to us that we be champions of recovery and show those that are struggling how beautiful recovered life can be.

 

Want to learn more about The Garment Project? Check out their website here.

 

 

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Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

We met Nia last year, and since then she’s been inspiring us with her honesty about natural beauty, insecurities and confidence. Nia’s curls were always huge part of her life—she co-founded the Go With The Fro Tour, a movement to empower women with natural curls—but when she realized that her hair was starting to define her, she knew she had to let it go. We talked to Nia about that process and what she learned from it. Read on for more from this #AerieREAL Role Model!

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

You’ve recently changed your look! Tell us why you decided to cut your hair.  

I knew I wanted to let go of my hair when the image of the woman I aspired to be wasn’t who I was. I was bored of looking the same every day just for validation through social media. I felt unhappy and drained but I couldn’t figure out why until I listed all the things I felt were holding me back. I wanted a fresh start and to completely step out of my comfort zone to finally see myself. I feel amazing, I feel so confident and free.

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

What did you learn in the process?

That you should never remain in a career, relationship or friendship just because of the comfort. I could’ve remained talking about hair just because it was what I built my brand on but it wasn’t what I was truly passionate about anymore. I also learned that some people will be in your life just because of how you look which is sad but it made me appreciate the people in my life who love me for me. I also learned that I used to spend way too much time doing my hair because I can now sleep for an extra hour!

 

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

#AerieREAL is about standing together and feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. How do you personally identify with that message?

I have never felt more confident and comfortable in my skin as my comfort used to lie within my hair. I hid all of my insecurities underneath my hair because people always gravitated towards it. At first it was fun being known for my hair but I couldn’t keep up with the image of always having to look the same, I felt obliged to always wear my hair out for the gratification of others and thats when I knew I was no longer living for myself. I now identify with it through acceptance of my natural beauty, my intelligence, my kind soul and my ability to always evolve.

Real Talk With Nia PettittWho is your role model and why?

My role model is the older version of myself. We all have this idea in our head of who we want to be and sometimes we never know how we are going to get there. Whether that is a healthier version, a smarter one, a version that is more stylish or more happy. My version is a woman that doesn’t allow likes to validate her worth, that is free with herself to be herself at all times and never feel like she has to be in a box.

Real Talk With Nia Pettitt

What makes you an #AerieREAL Role Model?

I no longer look at my flaws as flaws. I look at my stretch marks as lines of love from girl to woman. I look at my acne scars as reminders to stop stressing over unnecessary things. I look at the hair which grows on my skin as a blanket and my belly button as a cool and unique part of me. I am an #AerieREAL Role Model because I understand that the natural me is the best version of me.

How do you stay true to yourself? Comment below & tell us what makes YOU an #AerieREAL Role Model.

 

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DIY Holiday Jar

Happy Holi-DIYs! This easy DIY gift is a must-make for any gift exchange. Read on to see how to make your own festive jar just in time for Christmas.

DIY Holiday Jar

 

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Small jar
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Small rocks
  • Fake snow
  • Decorative sand
  • Small toy animals
  • Small plastic trees

DIY Holiday Jar

WHAT TO DO:

  1. On the inside of a clean, small jar, use a hot glue gun to secure small rocks to the bottom.
  2. Glue tiny toy animals and small plastic trees on top of the rocks.DIY Holiday Jar
  3. Add decorative sand to cover the glass bottom of the jar.
  4. Spoon fake snow around the trees and animals.DIY Holiday Jar
  5. Secure the lid on top of the jar.
  6. Gift it!

Want more DIY Christmas gifts? Check out some of our faves here and here.

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Stylist’s Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

Erin loves Aerie. Erin loves gifting Aerie. Erin is here for you to help with your last-minute gifts! Read on for some of her go-tos.

 

#1. Give the gift that always works.

If you’re really down to the wire, a gift card is always a love. Send an e-gift card to the girls on your list and include links to some of Erin’s outfit picks from this season for inspiration on how to use it.

3 Favorite Outfits

Fave Gifts

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

#2. If it’s grammable, it’s giftable.

Little things = big loves. Graphic beanies, pom pom EVERYTHING… stock up on small things that will make your friends smile. They may not think to get the fun stuff for themselves!

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

#3. Shop for the season.

The softer, the better. Furry scarves, knit gloves and any other winter accessory is a great way to keep the girls on your list warm and cozy this season.

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

#4. Gift a winter uniform.

‘Tis the season… to wear sweaters, sweatshirts and leggings every. single. day! If you know Erin, you know she’ll be living in her winter uniform all season long. Give the gift of stylist-approved comfort!

Stylist's Picks: Last-Minute Gifts

Happy gifting, girls!

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3 Ways To Wear The City Sweatshirt

Your fave City Sweatshirt is back and better than ever! Oversized, super soft and super comfy, this is THE must-have top for leggings. See how we styled one icy blue style with 3 different leggings below!

CHILL(Y)

Stay cute in the cold with sparkle leggings and our ultra warm Faux Furry Trapper Hat. Add some sunnies to block the shine from your leggings!

3 Ways To Wear The City Sweatshirt

 

COZY TIME

City Sweatshirt + Sleep Leggings = ultimate sleepy time style. Add some fuzzy socks and you may never leave your bed.

3 Ways To Wear The City Sweatshirt

 

SNOW WAY

Hit the slopes with our new Play Legwarmer Legging and pair it with a warm beanie and scarf for a look that can handle the winter weather.

3 Ways To Wear The City Sweatshirt

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DIY Wall Hanging

DIY your gifts this holiday, or make one for yourself– a woven wall hanging is a great way to get your hygge on! Read on to see how to weave your own wintry decor.

DIY Wall Hanging

WHAT YOU NEED

  • Large weaving loom
  • White yarn to wrap loom
  • Yarn to stitch with
  • Weaving needle
  • Scissors
  • 2 wooden dowels

WHAT TO DO

  1. In the loom, wrap yarn around the top and bottom pegs to make the base that you’ll be weaving through.
  2. At the very bottom of the loom, bring 4-5 pieces of yarn into a knot to create your bottom fringe. This will secure the bottom so that when you’re done with your creation, you can simply slide it off.
  3. The easiest way to get going is to simply “under and over” the yarn, making your base for incorporating fun things like poms!DIY Wall Hanging
  4. To create poms, wrap yarn in circles around your hand about 10 times.
  5. Next, cut an 8-inch piece of yarn and tie it around the middle of the yarn bundle.
  6. Cut the two loops on the top and bottom of the now tied bundle.
  7. Fluff the strings out to make a pom!DIY Wall Hanging
  8. Use the under over method with thicker yarn and tug at it to make it puff out for a fun texture
  9. Once you’re all done, use a dowel or festive stick to weave through the top loops.
  10. Have fun! It’s all about being creative. Try an assortment of yarns and mix up the textures and use your favorite colors to make it your own.

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